Janesville Light Parade gains traction as a new holiday tradition

When something works, it just works. Case in point, the Janesville Light Parade.

Organizer Chris Barcia said he had so much fun entering his side-by-side in the Christmas parade as part of the Uptown County Christmas celebration, he decided to organize a similar parade in Janesville. Last year, with only a few days notice on Facebook, 19 side-by-sides gathered and the Janesville Light Parade was born.

He took another shot at it this year, and Saturday, Dec. 9, the number of participants soared to nearly 80 vehicles including fire trucks from CalFire and the Janesville Fire Protection District.

And hundreds of Janesville residents braved the near freezing temperatures to gather along Main Street in parked cars while the braver folks stood around warming fires, enjoyed barbecues and a variety of other activities to celebrate the second offering of a local holiday parade.

“It makes you heart feel good when everybody in the community comes together like that,” Barcia said.”

He said he hopes the event will become an annual tradition.

“It will be an annual event as long as I’m living and breathing,” Barcia said. “This thing has really blown up, and Janesville really loves it.”

The event also collected toys and coats for distribution at Janesville Elementary School.

Barcia thanked board members Sarah Leef, Lisa Pickens, Andy Beck and Cheryl Barcia for their support.